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Classroom Strategies for Long-Term Substitute Teaching

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Long term substitute teachers and students can face many obstacles that affect the classroom environment and the learning that should be taking place. A new face in the classroom is sure to cause some distractions early on but by following a few simple strategies the transition can go smoothly. Remember for the next few weeks or months you are now the teacher. A very basic issue that may cause distractions in the classroom is the attire of the teacher. Many teachers and substitutes face unnecessary interruptions due to their appearance. Students (especially those in middle and high school) can be very judgmental and will draw conclusions about the teacher based on how they dress. A clean and professional look can add to a teacher’s credibility and help the classroom run smoothly.

The way a teacher plans and executes the daily lessons and tests also plays a major role in classroom management. When a teacher is knowledgeable and organized the day will flow and efficiency will be achieved. By following a classroom routine of “bell work” and well-organized units and tests the students will learn more and stay on task.

Other distractions can come from the students, when a group of students is constantly active and talking during the class period, time is wasted. Here a teacher could employ the ideas of classroom management theorist Mr. Kounin and keep the students on task by crafting lessons that move forward and hold the student's attention. By keeping students actively engaged in class activities, students will have less time to talk and will spend more time working and staying involved.

In today’s modern high-tech environment students have access to more and more sophisticated pieces of technology. Today’s cell phones are small and can be easily smuggled into the classroom. Students who do this will then proceed to be distracted by playing games or text messaging friends. Most schools have rules prohibiting the use of cell phones for any nonemergency during school hours. Many of these rules allow for the confiscation of the device by either the teacher or security personnel. Here a teacher can use Skinners behavioral research to deter students from operating cell phones. Skinner’s research dealt with how our voluntary actions are influenced by what happens to us immediately after we perform a given act. If a cell phone is confiscated from a student that student will think twice before trying it again.

Some distractions involve aggressive behavior on the part of a student toward either the teacher or other students. Here a teacher needs to be knowledgeable of the schools procedures in dealing with violence. An organized teacher who knows who to call and ensures that their phone is working each day will be able to alert the proper personnel and have the issue resolved so the lesson can go on.

Apathy is another issue that can lead to a classroom issue. If a student or group of students are not participating in class because they feel they are not smart enough or they are unhappy with the loss of their previous teacher they can cause other students to be distracted. For this reason educational speaker Harry Wong states that all teachers must always exhibit a positive and motivational demeanor. He feels the power of positivism can help students to feel able and ready to meet the tasks at hand. By staying positive and being willing to work with a student one-on-one a teacher can touch that student and help the class to go on seamlessly.

Communication is another issue that can affect how smoothly a classroom functions. A quiet and timid voice, or unorganized lectures will make it easy for students to focus on other things. A teacher must be able to communicate clearly and effectively with students. By maintaining a loud and firm, clear and calm voice a teacher can communicate clearly. By ordering their thoughts and having specific lecture notes and lesson plans a teacher can communicate in a logical and concise fashion.

Many things can detract from the classroom experience. A professional and prepared long-term substitute will have strategies in place to deal with many of the possible distractions from learning. By entering the classroom with a plan a long-term substitute can make an easy transition into the role of teacher and be ready to educate in an effective manner.

Contact us for more information of substitute teaching and long-term substitute teaching in your area.

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